EU Asks Google to Remedy Four Search-Related Antitrust Complaints


European Union regulators have given Google "a matter of weeks" to address antitrust complaints brought forth by a number of companies over the search engine giant's dominant market position.

EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said Monday that Google can avoid adversarial proceedings by voluntarily offering remedies to four main areas of concern that may be considered "abuses of dominance." The report follows a near 18-month antitrust investigation into Google's business practices on behalf of Microsoft, Yelp and other Internet firms.

The main critique of Google concerns its propensity to give preferential treatment to its own vertical search services compared to links from competitors, an act that clearly inhibits competition.

Secondly, the EU charges Google with copying content from competing vertical search services and incorporating it into its own offerings. Almunia references examples of Google copying user reviews or information from travel sites and restaurant guides without permission, and then using that material on its own sites.

"In this way, they are appropriating the benefits of the investments of competitors," Almunia said. "We are worried that this could reduce competitors' incentives to invest in the creation of original content for the benefit of internet users."

The EU's third concern stems from the strict agreements that Google inks with Websites that incorporate Google search. Websites that add search functionality are often required to enable Google ads.

"The agreements result in de facto exclusivity requiring them to obtain all or most of their requirements of search advertisements from Google, thus shutting out competing providers of search advertising intermediation services," Almunia added.

The final point of contention relates to Google's common practice of closing competitors off from its auction-based advertising platform, AdWords.

"We are concerned that Google imposes contractual restrictions on software developers which prevent them from offering tools that allow the seamless transfer of search advertising campaigns across AdWords and other platforms for search advertising," Almunia said.

The EU Commission has given Google a short window to review the charges and present initial proposals to remedy each concern. If the proposals properly address the EU's complaints, Almunia will refrain from pursuing formal proceedings that could eventually result in hefty fines.

Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributor

Related Articles

Coding and Invention Made Fun

By: Special Guest    10/12/2018

SAM is a series of kits that integrates hardware and software with the Internet. Combining wireless building blocks composed of sensors and actors con…

Read More

Facebook Marketplace Now Leverages AI

By: Paula Bernier    10/3/2018

Artificial intelligence is changing the way businesses interact with customers. Facebook's announcement this week is just another example of how this …

Read More

Oct. 17 Webinar to Address Apache Spark Benefits, Tools

By: Paula Bernier    10/2/2018

In the upcoming webinar "Apache Spark: The New Enterprise Backbone for ETL, Batch and Real-time Streaming," industry experts will offer details on clo…

Read More

It's Black and White: Cybercriminals Are Spending 10x More Than Enterprises to Control, Disrupt and Steal

By: Cynthia S. Artin    9/26/2018

In a stunning new report by Carbon Black, "Hacking, Escalating Attacks and The Role of Threat Hunting" the company revealed that 92% of UK companies s…

Read More

6 Challenges of 5G, and the 9 Pillars of Assurance Strategy

By: Special Guest    9/17/2018

To make 5G possible, everything will change. The 5G network will involve new antennas and chipsets, new architectures, new KPIs, new vendors, cloud di…

Read More